Want to know more about what to expect from our Introduction to Creating Picture Books course? Read on for session-by-session insights to see if this could be the course for you.
Claire has a breadth of knowledge on creating children’s books and is really passionate about it, and that came through from the very beginning.
This first session included a memory activity that helped us transport us back to our childhoods – an essential mindset for creating work for children – and a small-group activity looking at some iconic picture books by famous authors and illustrators.
This class was all about generating ideas, using left-field brainstorming techniques to come up with something completely new. I certainly surprised myself! Expect a book about a space-travelling blue sheep in a bookshop near you very soon.
The session helped us come up with well thought-out characters, settings, objects and themes, and then bring them all together as a story.
Time for some painting. Watercolours aren’t my go-to material but Claire showed us some techniques that made me want to explore this medium further.
We also did some character work, exploring how tiny changes to eyes or subtle movements of arms and legs can completely change the character’s feelings.
This week was all about getting stuck in to plot structures. If you’ve ever struggled in the past coming up with narratives, or have a tendency for going off on tangents, Claire’s documents and diagrams are a lifeline.
We also discussed the writing styles, rhythm, dialogue and tense of existing picture books, understanding what makes them interesting and fun for both children and adults.
At just over halfway through the course, it was time for some discussion and feedback. We talked about our different story ideas, what we liked, what we thought we needed to work on and how we wanted to move forward.
Feedback from both Claire and fellow students is one of the things that makes a course like this so uniquely valuable.
I really liked this week! There’s something about doing crafty stuff that just puts a smile on your face. We created textures with watercolours using techniques shown to us by Claire which I’ll definitely be using again in future illustrations.
We cut out shapes from the textured paper to create spreads for our picture book ideas, collaging characters, objects and backgrounds to create our scenes.
Sessions 7 and 8
All the previous classes and homework were building up to this: storyboards. Some students came to this course with a story already in mind, others developed them during the course – either way, we were now planning them out in storyboard form, visualising what our future picture books would look like.
Sessions 9 and 10
These last two weeks were great. We talked about the children’s publishing industry and got an insight into Claire’s own career journey. She answered our numerous questions and gave us tips and advice on everything from agents to submissions.
The final week was all about peer review and feedback, with even more invaluable industry insights from Claire. We looked through each others’ work and you could clearly see how much everyone’s stories had progressed over the past ten weeks.
I left with a storyboard I definitely want to continue working on, great new techniques, constructive feedback and an excitement to get into children’s publishing.
Want to get started on your own picture book? There are still a few places left on Claire's Introduction to Creating Picture Books online summer school.